Pepperdine Men's Golf Wins 2021 National Championship
For the second time in program history, the Pepperdine men’s golf team has lifted the national championship trophy after Wednesday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over Oklahoma.
After a grueling week in the 100-degree heat and playing a seventh round of competitive golf in six days at Grayhawk Golf Club, the Waves finished off their unforgettable run with the title. Joe Highsmith and William Mouw won the first two points and fifth-year senior Clay Feagler clinched the victory on the 18th green in front of a huge throng of Pepperdine fans.
Feagler and Highsmith won all three of their match-play rounds at the NCAA Championships.
Pepperdine and Oklahoma were the top-two ranked teams in the country when the 2020 season ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was a fitting matchup for the 2021 title.
FINAL VS. OKLAHOMA (3-2)
- Jonathan Brightwell (OU) def. Dylan Menante (PEPP) 1-up – Menante took an early two-hole lead, but Brightwell tied the match on 9. Menante went back up one on 13, but Brightwell won holes 15 and 16, and the two players halved 17 and 18 to put the Sooners on the board first.
- Joe Highsmith (PEPP) def. Garett Reband (OU) 4&3 – Moments later, Highsmith evened the match with a dominant victory. He won holes 1, 3 and 4 to go up by three. He had a five-hole lead after 12, and eventually ended the match on 15.
- William Mouw (PEPP) def. Quade Cummins (OU) 4&3 – The Waves went up 2-1 when Mouw won from the number five position. Mouw won the first hole and never trailed. It was tied after eight, but Mouw won on 9, 11, 13 and 14, and ended the match on 15.
- Clay Feagler (PEPP) def. Ben Lorenz (OU) 1-up – All eyes turned to Feagler at this point. He was behind most of the match, including being down two holes after 11. But Feagler won 12, 13 and 14 to take the lead. Lorenz evened it up on 15. Feagler won 16, then played flawlessly under enormous pressure on 17 and 18, halving both to clinch the match and give Pepperdine the victory.
- Logan McAllister (OU) def. Joey Vrzich (PEPP) 1-up – Vrzich’s match was abandoned after 17 holes with McAllister leading by one
- The Pepperdine men’s golf program won its first national title since 1997. The Waves were competing at the NCAA finals for the 11th time in program history, and for the third time in the last four tournaments.
- This is the 10th NCAA Division I team title in Pepperdine Athletics history, and the first since men’s tennis in 2006.
- This was Pepperdine’s second national championship match appearance in the last two weeks. The women’s tennis program was the national runner-up.
- This was Pepperdine’s first-ever appearance in NCAA Championships match play (the format changed in 2009). The Waves beat Florida State 3-1-1 in the quarterfinals and Oklahoma State 3-0-2 in the semifinals.
- Pepperdine finished third in the stroke play portion of the competition, while Oklahoma was fourth.
- Pepperdine and Oklahoma also met in the final of the East Lake Cup in October (Pepperdine won 4-1).
Pepperdine Coach Michael Beard said: “It all started when I played at Pepperdine, I got to play there for four years and I always felt like we could be the best team in the country. To be able to come back as coach, I still felt that way. Everyone that has worked with us and every player that we’ve had come through believes in that as well. I’m just so proud of these guys. Our program, our university, alumni, all you guys here, it’s unbelievable. It felt like we just didn’t get to see it through last year and these guys came back better. It really wasn’t me, they just came back with more fire and more determination and motivation. These guys are so good, we don’t have to do much to motivate them."
Clay Feagler said: “It was kind of surreal to come down to the 18th hole and basically have the last point just kind of on my shoulders..It was nerve wracking but it was exciting. I didn’t think I was going to be the final point here. It was kind of crazy.”
Joey Vrzich said: “I would have never thought this far coming into college, that I would ever be called a national champion. So, to be here with all of these guys, and two of them just come down and watch us today, it was great to see them and for us to have support. I can’t believe how many Pepperdine fans we had come and watch. To have my Dad here, I don’t even have a word for it. It makes me tear up every time.”